As defined by the Brundtland Commission (UN, 1987), sustainable development entails meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Materials science will play a pivotal role in solving many of the key challenges our society will continue to face in the coming years, including providing a sustainable supply of energy, water, products, services, transportation, buildings, and public infrastructure.
New approaches to sustainable development will require materials researchers who have technical expertise and who understand the complex interrelationships between materials science and other disciplines. In addition, materials researchers must develop relationships with industry and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing challenges and opportunities to translate their work to practice.
This symposium will encourage an integrated approach toward the role of materials science in sustainable development and will provide a medium for technically based, interdisciplinary discussions of core materials technologies and their connection with societal, ecological, and economic drivers that together will illuminate the path toward sustainable development.
A complementary suite of activities focusing on sustainability in industry, teaching sustainability, student engagement, and public outreach is tentatively planned.